Zimbabwean hip hop has been struggling to gain public attention nationally from the core of the ghettos up to the uptown suburbs including the rural areas as well. One of the reasons that explains the failure of Zim Hip Hop to in finding a breakthrough is the lack of consistency by artists and the genre it self.
By Argus Mepo
The “come and go” system has been a serious challenge that Zim Hip Hop has faced. It has produced a lot of brilliant artists who have came on the limelight for a while then they either hibernate or exhaust their bag of tricks. The genre is bereft of consistency and continuity as well.
Around 2012-2014 when Zimdancehall was gaining a lot of traction and momentum, Zim Hip Hop was also making noise. Specifically, this was a period which saw the rise of two hip hop groups that is MMT and Few Kings.
MMT consisted of Mariachi, MC Cut and Tatea the MC and Few Kings was a musical outfit that was made up of Take Fizzo, Jnr Brown and Tehn Diamond. During this period these two groups were the face of Zimbabwean hip hop and they made countless hitsongs amongst them Happy, Zvidhori and Realness to mention just a few.
These songs also made it to the ghetto playlists a no go area for Zimdancehall. This was also the golden opportunity for these two camps to set the trend and pave the way for other hip hop artists in the land.
Nevertheless, these MMT and Few Kings failed to capitalize from the fame. They got too relaxed and over confident and up to now they are still stuck in their comfort zone. That is lack of consistency! Artists like Jnr Brown, Tehn Diamond, Mariachi are still in the game but they are now keeping up on a low pace which is totally different from the one they were up to during their glory days. MC Cut has even abandoned his musical career, he’s now a full time MC at Woods Sensation. That’s lack of consistency !
Moving on, best New comers award winners at the Zim Hip Hop awards from 2016 to 2018 have also proved that lack consistency is a serious ghost that is haunting the Zim Hip Hop industry.
In 2016, Indigo Saint won the best new comer award. The youngster came with a hard hitting sound that saw some of his tracks dominating airplay at The Fix, a local hip hop show that is hosted by Lady K and PD The Ghost on Zi Fm. However, in the post 2016 period the artist has failed to deliver much and outdone the pace that earned him an award. That’s lack of consistency !
However, come 2018, 2019 and 2020 Tulk has released some projects but they have failed to make a huge impact. His marketing strategies and ways of distributing music are also dragging him backwards. That’s lack of consistency !
In 2018 Tanto Wavie who rose to fame as a Takura Life counterfeit gained public attention. He remixed Takura’s album Someone Had To Do It and made his own Some Had To Smoke It. Even Takura’s hitsong Jehova was remixed and he came up with a cannabis centred song Jazzman which was liked by many. He rode on Takura’s fame and built his own brand and he was the best new comer at the Zim Hip Hop awards 2018. Likewise, the 2019 and 2020 period has not been rosy for Tanto he recently released his new EP Wavie 2 which flopped on the market.
Zim Hip Hop is a powerful genre that needs serious panel beating for it to successfully hit the market. Artists like Takura, King 98, Ti Gonzi, Asaph, Crooger, Holy Ten, R peels and GZE among others have been representing the genre well as of late. On the contrary, other Zim Hip Hop artists must up their game and chew what they can swallow so that their lifespan in the industry will be longer and help to grow their brands. Good timing, releasing quality projects, good marketing and distribution strategies are also other attributes of consistency.